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Steven Forbes 01-24-2014 10:56 PM

TPG Week 161: Don't Keep Writing When The Story Is Senseless
Welcome back, one and all, to The Proving Grounds! This week, we have a new Brave One in John Heidt. As always, we have Sam LeBas in Prince purple, I'm in the Hall and Oates red (I'm a Man Eater), and we see what John does with

Chronicles of Heroes

(One of the things I find myself having to do is raise the font from a 10 pitch up to the standard 12. I'm finding myself having to do it more often than usual as of late. While it isn't wrong, it's annoying as hell. Here's the thing, folks: you want the editor to be able to read the script, yes? Then put it at a standard reading level, which is 12 pitch. If they want to raise it or lower it from there, then that is their prerogative. But if you start out with a 10 pitch, the only thing you're doing is increasing the likelihood that your script will be round filed. I know that if I had gotten this at 10 pitch, I'd have chucked it, and you wouldn't have heard back from me as to why. That being said, let's continue.)

(Consider including header with your name, the title of this work, issue number page numbers [pages of the actual script not page numbers in the comic] on each page. If this document gets printed out no one will know who wrote it, what it’s called or where page 17 belongs.)

Page 1: I have formatted it to be in 2 rows, three panels side to side on top and the 4th panel to be the same size as the first 3 by itself. it should all fit together to make a rectangle. Basically panel 4, 5, 6, are one panel. (This is hella confusing, and the grammar is not helping. Who would you like to know this information if you have already done it? Capitalize the first letter of a a sentence, you know that.) (I'm happy that this information is here. I like it. I didn't even have to read it more than once. However, while I don't take off points for capitalization in the panel descriptions, it doesn't bode well for the rest of the script if it shows up in the second sentence. Editors are busy, folks, and they look for reasons to toss out scripts. A mistake in simple capitalization could be an indicator of “worse” things to come, especially in the second sentence. You have to try harder.)

Click here to read more.

Alyssa 01-25-2014 05:57 AM

My impression is that John Heidt is young- these are all the same mistakes I've seen in novels written by 12-14 year olds.
Being young is totally okay, by the way (by the time he's of working age, he may just be the industry's next great writer), just offering a possible explanation of his frequent attacks on Steven's sanity. ;D

I like the lightness in Kade's character. He does remind me of Flynn Rider, but I think that's a good thing. Everything else about this script needs a lot of work though, as Steven and Sam pointed out.

The thing I did notice, which I don't think was mentioned, was how utterly out of place the characters and scenarios seem in their environment.
Medieval fantasy. Nope, didn't see that. Certainly not in the dialogue ("CUZ I HAVE TOTALLY NEVER DONE THIS BEFORE…"). Jackets, backpacks, betting booths, bathing houses...I've never studied medieval times, but I'm having a hard time picturing these things in a world of castles, poor hygiene, and poverty. If the panel descriptions did a better job of describing the environment and its inhabitants, perhaps this wouldn't be a problem. Suspension of disbelief, all that.
Or maybe I just need to brush up on medieval stuff (which is a possibility).

Thanks Steve and Sam for taking the time to do the Proving Grounds. I read every post- there's something to learn in every one.

SamRoads 01-26-2014 09:52 AM

In my day job, I'm creative director for a game developer, so I hire writers. Any submission from a writer who hasn't bothered to get their punctuation right sends me the message that they really don't care whether their work is any good.

Punctuation is very, very easy, compared to the other skills you need to be a good graphic novel writer.

Steven Forbes 01-26-2014 10:03 PM

Spelling, punctuation, and format: these are the three things any writer can control. Well, grammar can be controlled as well, but that control slips when you aren't writing in your native language. (I try to be as forgiving as I can.)

There aren't any acceptable excuses for spelling, punctuation, and format errors. They all take just a little bit of study, a little bit of effort, and a little bit of observation. I can accept a word spelled correctly but used incorrectly in a sentence. That's a bit easier to accept than a misspelling. Most programs today can show you a spelling error.

Punctuation isn't that different. Ending punctuation is simple. Apostrophes can be a little tricky at times, but not that tricky.

Really, the punctuation here is just shoddy. The writer should have asked more of himself.

Some people think I'm too rough. I would have to say that I've calmed down a lot. Writers earn what I say about their work. Want nice things said? Do the work. Don't want nice things said? Don't. Pretty simple.

Alyssa: I wasn't that taken out of the story when it comes to the setting. It was more of a lack of describing the setting that got me rather than the anachronistic speech pattern. There are much larger issues to get through than that. That's why I didn't mention it at all. I could see most of those easier than I could the story itself.

Fix the big things first, and then we can concentrate on the smaller stuff.

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